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Friday, November 10, 2006!: Brazilian group monitors textbooks

One thing that has really inflated the intelligent design controversy has been random acts of Darwinism in taxpayer funded textbooks: historical distortions, slams at traditional philosophies, announcements that life has no meaning or purpose, gross inflation of the significance of various findings and inappropriate hagiography of Darwin... The main reason ID embryologist Jonathan Wells became so widely hated was his exposure of American textbooks.

In Brazil, an ID-friendly group has taken a proactive position, undertaking to analyze books and get corrections for subsequent editions before it all gets out of hand. Here, here, and here, in Portuguese, are some examples.

Enezio E. de Almeida Filho, who operates the blog Pos-darwinista, writes to say that in 2003 and 2005, his group sent a critical analysis of origin of life and evolution in seven major biology high school textbooks to the Brazilian Education Ministry group. This year, they are planning a critical analysis of all books (about 10) approved by the Brazilian Education Ministry specialists, which they will forward to the ministry.

According to Enezio, a very prominent author – José Mariano Amabis – a Ph. D. professor at USP (University of São Paulo – a Brazilian Ivy league university) has already removed two questionable items from his textbook ( Haeckel’s embryos and the Manchester moths ), though he did not give a reason. Other textbook authors are reportedly becoming more cautious and the Ministry has now appointed specialists to have a look at new books. A good idea, that.

Essentially, students must and should learn about Darwinian evolution - its strengths and weaknesses as an explanation for various features of life - but there is absolutely no justification for textbooks to read like the Holy Scriptures of Darwinism, complete with Darwinian miracle stories.
My other blog is the Mindful Hack, which keeps tabs on neuroscience and the mind.

If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

Are you looking for one of the following stories?

My U of Toronto talk on why there is an intelligent design controversy, or my talk on media coverage of the controversy att he University of Minnesota.

A summary of tech guru George Gilder's arguments for ID and against Darwinism

A critical look at why March of the Penguins was thought to be an ID film.

A summary of recent opinion columns on the ID controversy

A summary of recent polls of US public opinion on the ID controversy

A summary of the Catholic Church's entry into the controversy, essentially on the side of ID.

O'Leary's intro to non-Darwinian agnostic philosopher David Stove’s critique of Darwinism.

An ID Timeline: The ID folk seem always to win when they lose.

O’Leary’s comments on Francis Beckwith, a Dembski associate, being granted tenure at Baylor after a long struggle - even after helping in a small way to destroy the Baylor Bears' ancient glory - in the opinion of a hyper sportswriter.

Why origin of life is such a difficult problem.
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